Assessments of bridge infrastructure in the United States have been in the news in summer 2013. The most recent report (as of 9/18/13) was an assessment by the Associated Press (AP) of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHA) National Bridge Inventory (this FHA inventory is available online at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/nbi.cfm). According to the AP study, released in mid-September 2013, out of 607,380 bridges in the national inventory, 65,505 (about 10.8 percent) were classified as “structurally deficient” (at least one “major component” is in need of repair or rehabilitation); 22,808 were reported as “fracture critical” (lacking redundancies and at risk of collapse if one vital component fails); and 7,795 were placed in both of these categories. The FHA’s inventory, as of December 2012, rated 1,265 Virginia bridges out of 13,524 total federal and non-federal bridges as “structurally deficient” (about 9.4 percent) and 2,337 as “functionally obsolete.” In June 2013, the Washington, D.C-based organization Transportation for America released the 2013 version of “The State of Our Bridges” (online at http://t4america.org/resources/bridges/), also based on FHA’s National Bridge Inventory and also indicating about nine percent of Virginia’s bridges as structurally deficient. Nationwide, the approximately 11 percent structurally deficient bridges is an improvement over almost 21 percent rated that way in 1992.
Thousands of US bridges suffer from 2 safety red flags: Here’s what it all means, Associated Press, as published in Washington Post, 9/16/13 and Virginia puts priority on replacing bridges, Roanoke Times, 6/20/13.
For another assessment of bridges (and other infrastructure, including water-related infrastructure) in the United States and in Virginia, please see the Water Central News Grouper post of 3/21/13 on the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) “2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.”